Minnesota: 97,000 have already selected QHPs for 2019, up 6% vs. same period last year

This Just In via MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange...

More than 97,000 Minnesotans have signed up for private health plans through MNsure since the start of open enrollment
Open enrollment runs until January 13, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Today MNsure announced that over 97,000 Minnesotans have signed up for private health plan coverage through MNsure during the first two weeks of open enrollment.

MNsure's open enrollment runs until January 13, 2019. For coverage that begins January 1, 2019, Minnesotans must enroll by December 15, 2018.

“We are excited with our smooth start to open enrollment and that over 97,000 Minnesotans have signed up for private health plans,” said CEO Nate Clark. “With rates decreasing from 7 to 27 percent across the state, we encourage Minnesotans to visit MNsure.org to see if they can save.”

BY THE NUMBERS—

  • Private health plan sign ups—97,944
  • Call volume—14,335
  • Average speed of answer—7 seconds
  • Plan comparison sessions—49,064

The sign-ups reported include new consumers, renewing consumers who have come back and shopped for a new plan for 2019, and renewing consumers who are continuing their previous plan for 2019.

It's important to understand that like several other states, Minnesota has started front-loading their auto-renewals...which means that instead of waiting until after the deadline to auto-renew any remaining current enrollees, they instead tentatively auto-renew every current enrollee up front, and then simply change the status of those enrollees as people manually switch to other plans or cancel their renewals.

I confirmed this after similar confusion last year:

*UPDATE: OK, I've received a clarification from MNsure: It looks like they've joined states like Rhode Island in "front-loading" their auto-renewals. This accounts for much of the dramatic increase in early enrollment, although it's still an impressive number regardless. I'm told that around 5,000 of the 91,623 enrollees [for 2018] are new, leaving around 86,600 renewals.

Last year [2017] MNsure had 109,974 QHP selections total by the end of Open Enrollment. 86,600 is about 79% of that, which is actually a higher retention/renewal rate than the national average, so MNsure deserves kudos for that as well.

So, that's 97,000 total QHP selections/renewals for 2019 in the first two weeks of open enrollment vs. 91,623 in the same time period last year, about a 6% year over year increase. It's actually slightly higher than that since today's 97K figure only includes 13 days (or possibly 13.5 if the tally runs through earlier today).

Last year's final QHP selection tally 116,358, so the state has already reached 83% of last year's total.

In fact, according to the official MNsure enrollment page, it's closer to 98,000:

Latest Enrollment Numbers

November 14, 2018 
(2019 individual sign-ups since November 1)

  • Medical Assistance (applicants): 11,575 
  • MinnesotaCare (applicants): 5,403
  • Qualified Health Plan (including renewals): 97,944

UPDATE 11/18/18: Here's some additional detail from an AP article:

MNsure this week reported just under 2,400 new enrollees through the first two weeks of November. That's roughly half the 4,700 new sign-ups during the comparable period last year.

...MNsure CEO Nate Clark told the Star Tribune that those brokers have been tied up helping more than 300,000 Minnesotans who are currently covered by Medicare Cost plans and must find replacement coverage for next year. He said he expects those brokers to turn their attention to MNsure clients toward the end of this month.

...Adding in automatic coverage renewals for the coming year, more than 97,000 people have enrolled in private health plans through MNsure since open enrollment stared Nov. 1, Clark said.

...MNsure expects around 10,700 people will newly enroll in coverage for 2019 while a similar number will drop coverage over the course of the year.